MRI Results

As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, I try not to spend too much time thinking about Eric’s brain cancer and the possibility for it to return. However, the week of his MRI’s and follow-up doctor appointments, I can’t help but find myself being a little more anxious than normal.

Last Tuesday Eric went to University of Vermont Medical Center for his routine MRI. He always likes to get a late day appointment  to limit his wait time at the hospital. No matter the time of day, me and the kids go with him. This time was no different. We all loaded in the car, walked down to the MRI wing of the hospital, kissed Eric on the head and he was off to get scanned. Since his appointment was around dinner time, while Eric was in getting scanned, me and the kids ate dinner in the hospital cafeteria. Shortly after we were done eating, Eric was finished with the MRI and we walked back through the hospital to go home and await for the results of the scan the next day with his Oncologist.

It isn’t the MRI itself the gets me nervous, it is waiting for the results. I will find myself looking at the clock frequently at work as I wait to leave in accompanying Eric to the doctor’s office. In preparation for hearing the results,  I will play through the scenarios in my head of what the results could be in anticipation of what the doctor will say.

Eric and I met up at the Oncology office for his late afternoon appointment. As soon as I walked in, I noticed myself paying attention to the nurses and office staff, watching how they interacted with us. If they seemed sad, did it mean that they had bad results? Eric filled out some paperwork in the waiting room, and then nurse called us back to the room. I could feel my palms getting sweaty and my heart starting to race. As we walked to the room, the doctor was in the hallway talking to another nurse – he didn’t look at us as we walked by – oh, no that couldn’t be good.

We waited in the room for a mere minutes, which seemed like hours. I heard the doctor open the door, looked at him, still trying to analyze his body language in anticipation of what he was going to say. Then the words came out of his mouth:

YOUR SCAN LOOKS PERFECT!

Ahh, I immediately relaxed, and found myself smiling. From there on out, it didn’t matter what the doctor had to say. My perfect Eric was still perfect.

Even though it has been over three years since Eric’s initial diagnosis, the anticipation of the results don’t seem to get any easier for me. I still get nervous with wonder in hoping that everything still looks clean on the MRI. We are blessed that Eric has continued to be a survivor of this disease and the results of his February 10th scan still are as perfect as he his.

Every Cancer Has A Color

EVERY CANCER HAS A COLOR

World Cancer DayOn this WORLD CANCER DAY, let’s recognize that every cancer has a color. No matter the diagnosis or the prognosis, we all have a battle. Let’s not just recognize PINK for breast cancer or GREY for brain cancer, let’s treat all cancer equally. Every form of cancer needs to have a cure. Our hope on this World Cancer Day is to raise awareness for all ribbons so that one day there is a cure and CANCER NO LONGER HAS A COLOR.

The Things Cancer Taught Us

CANCER CANKNOT. There are so many things that Cancer Cannot do, but there is one thing that it CAN do, it can teach you a few things about life.

In 2011 when I was diagnosed with cancer, I was young, happy, had a wonderful family and a seemingly perfect life… and then cancer happened. Cancer tried to take all of those things away, but instead it actually taught our family how to live.

Cancer Canknot Be More Powerful Than Those That Love and Support You

When they say, IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A FAMILY, well it also takes a village to help you survive cancer. Everyone you interact with plays an important role in moving forward with your diagnosis; family, friends, doctors, nurses, co-workers – everyone makes their own contribution and impact in beating this disease. Cancer Canknot be more powerful than those that love and support you.

Cancer Canknot Ruin Your Outlook on Life

Staying positive truly is key. Having moments of frustration, sadness, fear, and anxiety is one thing, but letting it consume you is another. You cannot let that bad moment turn into a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month. Having a positive outlook is what keeps you and everyone around you fighting. Cancer Canknot ruin your outlook on life.

Cancer Canknot Break You

Don’t sweat the small stuff. For every problem there is a solution. It is easy to get upset when things don’t go your way, but you can always find a way to move past it. For every moment of falter there must be a moment of strength. What doesn’t break you does make you stronger. Cancer Canknot break you.

Cancer Canknot Stop Hugs or Kisses

Kiss each other good night. Tell your kids you love them as they leave for school. Not only be appreciative of every day, but every moment. After cancer you realize that any moment could be your last, so always take advantage of your time with loved ones. Cancer taught us to be conscience of the last thing you say to someone, so make sure you have had that opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Cancer Canknot stop hugs or kisses.

Cancer Canknot Consume Time

Don’t wish away your days. It is easy to say things like “I wish it was Friday.” Cancer teaches you to live in the moment and appreciate all the days that you do have. Take advantage of your time and be thankful for your life as everyday creates new experiences and opportunities. Cancer Canknot consume time.

Cancer Canknot Stop You From Moving Forward

Don’t wait. You know the famous saying NEVER PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY, well it’s true. Seize every moment and take advantage of time. It is easy to say, “I will do that next week” or “we can take a vacation next year.” Do it now. Don’t save it all for the rainy day fund. Sometimes it is important to use those savings on the sunny days. Time is precious and never let a moment pass you by. Cancer Canknot stop you from moving forward.

Cancer Canknot Take Away the Importance of Family

Family first. We’ve all heard the saying “work-life balance” and cancer taught us the importance of that. A bad day at work is just that, ONE bad day. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t important. Family is what is important. Family is what keeps you going. Family is what keeps you strong. Family is what keeps you fighting. Cancer Canknot take away the importance of family.

Cancer Canknot Keep You From Being Happy

If you get angry… get over it. Just as quickly as you feel hurt, angry or upset, it is just as important to forgive, forget and move on. Resentment and anger can consume you, and the quicker you can realize those things aren’t important or healthy to hold on to, the happier you will be. Cancer Canknot keep you from being happy.

Cancer Canknot Take Away Love, Hope and Memories

Lastly, MIRACLES DO HAPPEN. What was a 6-12 month prognosis has turned into a three year SURVIVORSHIP. In those three years, we have had the opportunity to write a book, design a line of jewelry, and bring a beautiful baby girl into the world. All of which seemed impossible on that December day in 2011. Cancer Canknot take away love, hope and memories.

WHAT HAS CANCER TAUGHT YOU??

 

Support of a Spouse

coupleRight before Eric was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011, I just knew something wasn’t right. Now, I have a tendency to be a little bit of a hypochondriac, but the excruciating headaches, vomiting and not being able to bend down to tie a shoe should be an indication to anyone that something wasn’t right. After much begging and pleading, I finally got him to see a doctor – to which they recommended that he get a CAT scan.

I will never forget the moment that Eric walked out of the exam room at the hospital and said “they don’t want me to go anywhere, I think they found something.” My heart sunk deep into my stomach and from that moment on, our lives would change forever. We were then brought back to a consultation room where the Radiologist proceeded to tell us that Eric had a large mass in his brain, about the size of a baseball. My first question to the doctor was “it is CANCER?” On December 20, 2011 -about 10 days after we got the news Eric had a mass in his brain, and one brain surgery later, our greatest fear was confirmed – Eric had grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. I dreaded asking what the prognosis was, but I did anyway; six to twelve months is the typical prognosis for this type of brain cancer. Continue reading “Support of a Spouse”

Lessons Learned

Through my diagnosis, we have learned many lessons First and foremost we learned the importance of family and friends. Many people ask how we got through such a difficult time, and our response has always been our amazing support system. People helped in any way they could; gift baskets, homemade meals, cards, and many positive thoughts and prayers.

IMG_4739However, I think one of the most amazing things we  learned during this process is the resiliencies that a child possess in the diagnosis of a family member’s cancer diagnosis. As many of you know, Bryce was three years old at the time of my diagnosis. Just as we described in our reasoning for writing the book, one of the first thoughts that crosses your mind is how are we going to tell him? At first, we thought that maybe we don’t say anything at all, but we quickly learned that a child is very perceptive. They soon realize that something doesn’t seem quite right; Why is  daddy tired?, where did all of his hair go?, why do we go to the hospital so much now?

When we told Bryce of daddy’s cancer, we expected many questions – which we got, inspired through the book, but what we weren’t expecting was how resilient Bryce was after he learned about my cancer diagnosis.

Bryce understood so much more than we expected, and even after such a heavy-hearted conversation, he continued to be the amazing boy we always knew. Bryce was able to move past the word “cancer” that we were so afraid to tell him.

Through my  treatment, it was like he “just knew.” He just knew when daddy was tired and couldn’t play as much. And then on the days that I was feeling well, he would ask to wrestle on the floor and sing and dance before bedtime.

We get asked a lot by families on how they should tell their children of a family member’s diagnosis. We always that tell them that they know their  family best and what they are capable of understanding given the situation they are faced with,  but as we shared in our experience, you may be amazed with their resilience.